Prospects for peace in Syria

(VOVworld) – UN-mediated peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, scheduled for January 25, have been postponed to January 29 by disagreements on a number of issues. Those differences appear to have been resolved, sparking hopes for an end to the 5-year civil war in Syria.

Prospects for peace in Syria - ảnh 1

Advantage for Syrian government

Syrian government forces and local militia have regained control of the town of Rabia after fierce fighting with rebel forces. This is a second strategic victory for President Bashar al-Assad 2 weeks after his troops regained control of the town of Salma. According to analysts, Rabia’s position on the region’s main transportation route will allow the Syrian army to keep rebels from advancing southward. The army will use Rabia as a springboard to launch ground campaigns against rebel-held towns in eastern Idlib province.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the victory in Rabia was supported by Russian airstrikes. At President Assad’s request, since September 30, Russia has conducted 5,600 airstrikes and fired nearly 100 cruise missiles against terrorist bases in Syria. Russia’s intervention has changed the situation, helping Syrian government forces gain an advantage on the ground and increasing President al-Assad’s security.

Remaining differences

The peace talks were postponed because parties failed to reach consensus on who will represent the opposition. Germany says the talks should involve Islamic rebels, not extremist terrorists. The High Negotiations Committee of the Saudi-led coalition said it sent a list of 3 delegates to the talks. The list has been strongly criticized because it includes Mohamed Alloush, leader of the Army of Islam, as chief negotiator. The Syrian government often calls the Army of Islam and certain other armed groups terrorists that it will never negotiate with. The Syrian government has called for the inclusion of Kurdish militias as opposition representatives. Russia has rejected Saudi Arabia’s proposal and said the talks should involve former Syrian deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil and Kurdish leaders in Syria.

Hopes sparked

It appears that 2 negotiation delegations of the opposition will come to the talks in Geneva. US Secretary of State John Kerry said parties involved have agreed that the International Syria Support Group will convene after the first round of Syria peace talks to avoid disruption. But there remain other challenges to resolving the Syrian issue, said Kerry.

President Assad’s future remains a contentious issue between the US and Russia. What is happening on the battlefield is an affirmation of Russia’s support for President Assad’s political future while the US insists that President Assad is a magnet for terrorism and violence and that the war in Syria will continue as long as he remains in power. But in an attempt to reach a compromise the US has stopped demanding his resignation as a premise for any political transition in Syria.